The Senate has assured Nigerians that it is making efforts to reduce drastically, the N5.6tn which the Federal Government proposed to borrow in 2022.
The regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had in the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure and Fiscal Strategy Paper, being considered by both chambers of the National Assembly, proposed to borrow the amount in order to fund the budget deficit.
The Director General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, however, appeared before a joint Senate committee working on the MTEF/FSP on Wednesday and declared that the over 90 per cent of the nation’s revenue being spent to service debts was no longer sustainable.
The Chairman, Senate committee on Finance, Solomon Adeola, and his counterpart in the local and foreign loans panel, Clifford Ordia, said the red chamber was determined to reduce the amount.
Adeola told our correspondent that his panel as well as others in the red chamber had resolved to take on the revenue generating agencies to increase their revenue projections with a view to achieving a drastic reduction in the amount projected to be borrowed.
He said, “It is the collective position of both the executive and the legislature that borrowing foreign loans to fund our budget deficit is not healthy for our economy.
“That is why we are engaging the major revenue generating agencies with a view to seeing how we can make them to improve on the revenue they are bringing to the federation account so as to reduce borrowing.
“The revenue of the Nigerian Customs Service is going down and we are not meeting our target. We have done everything possible to support the NCS.
“We have reduced the tariff so as to discourage smuggling. We have also passed into law all necessary Acts that the NCS has put before us.”
Ordia on his part, noted that the country needed funds to build critical legacy projects but that taking foreign loans to do so was not the best alternative.